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April 17, 2020 - Starting April 20, 2020 noon, all air passengers in Canada are required to wear non medicated masks.  See rules on face masks from Transport Canada.  

April 3, 2020 - CDC recommends wearing cloth masks in public.  If you are feeling crafty, you can create your own mask. We recommend using 100% cotton fabric for breathability and adding a sleeve to insert the PM 2.5 filter.  

For more information on making your own masks, visit CDC's website here.  

 

 What does it mean to be NIOSH approved?  Masks with NIOSH marking are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is an United States federal research agency responsible for carrying out research and recommendations for work health and safety. 

NIOSH uses numbers to denote filtration rate.  N means non oil resistant and the number indicates filtration rate; thus N95 masks means the mask is non resistant to oil and filters at 95% air borne particles. Under non-U.S. jurisdictions, masks such as FFP2 respirators of the European Union and KN95 respirators of China are equivalent to N95 (although different tests are performed).  

If you are able to purchase any mask with NIOSH marking, be sure to verify model directly on cdc's website.  Check here.  

While NIOSH approved masks are ideal, they are currently limited in supply and therefore should be reserved for health and critical workers. Breathable masks with high filtration rate can be the best alternative for the general public.  

  • A study performed in Hong Kong (2009) concluded that wearing face masks combined with proper hand hygiene seemed to prevent transmission of influenza virus when implemented within 36 hours around patients with symptoms. 

Annals of Internal Medicine: Cowling BJ, Chan K, Fang VJ, et al. Facemasks and Hand Hygiene to Prevent Influenza Transmission in Households: A Cluster Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2009;151:437–446.